Why Jews and blacks vote Democratic: Part II
1/28/2003 12:00:00 AM - Dennis Prager
In Part I, I argued that it is not Democratic positions that
most entice nearly all blacks and the great majority of Jews to vote
Democrat. Rather this lopsided voting is more a function of the two groups'
As a result of millennia of Christian oppression of them, many
Jews still fear religion, particularly Christians and Christianity, even
though all the Christian anti-Semitism was European; and as a result of the
Nazis, many Jews fear anything labeled "right wing." As for blacks, because
of centuries of slavery and racism, many black Americans continue to harbor
great anger at whites and at America.
If these memories accurately assessed today's white, Christian
and right-wing Americans, Jews' and blacks' overwhelming support for the
Democrats would surely make sense. Indeed, they would mandate such voting.
But these memories do not apply today, and therefore they are
having a paralyzing effect on America's Jews and blacks.
The fact is that most white Americans have changed; most are no
longer racist. Regarding race, most white Americans would probably like
nothing more than to forget about race, as they no longer deem either their
own whiteness or blacks' blackness to be of particular significance. I know
from years of speaking to black callers to my radio show, however, that this
is almost impossible for many of them to believe. They ask, in effect, "Are
we blacks really supposed to believe that in the course of one generation an
entire mindset -- that of white racial superiority -- has simply
The answer is largely, though of course not universally, yes.
One reason is that most Americans are decent people, another is the
non-racist education they have received. A third is the unprecedented
personal and media exposure to blacks that this generation of whites has
received. And a fourth reason is that in order to believe that skin color
determines a person's traits or worth, you have to be not only evil, you
have to be an ignoramus; and regarding race, most Americans are no longer
ignoramuses. They know too many wonderful people of all races.
As for Jews' fears of American Christians, they are even less
fact-based than blacks' continuing anger at whites. American Christians were
never the anti-Semites of Jewish memory. Those were European Christians who
persecuted Jews for all those years, precisely the Christians that America's
(Christian) founders fled to establish this different society. American
Jews' fears of American Christians are therefore simply irrational,
especially now when Christian Americans (outside of the National Council of
Churches) are the Jews' and Israel's most loyal friends.
Memory also explains American Jews' irrational fears of the
right. Because the Nazis are widely deemed far rightists (yes, Nazism stood
for National Socialism, but no leftists or socialists considered it an
ideological ally), Jews continuing to only look rightward for anti-Semitic
threats is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because it is like looking
only to the right when you cross a two-way street because your grandfather
was killed by a car coming from the right. And it is dangerous because since
World War II, and at this very moment, the greatest anti-Semitism has come
from the left.
The result of all these misperceptions on the part of blacks and
Jews is that the Democratic Party understands that in order to maintain its
overwhelming black and Jewish support, it must abet black anger at whites
and abet Jews' fears of Christians and conservatives. And this they do well,
to the great detriment of the country.
There are signs, however, that this strategy, at least vis-a-vis
the Jews, is beginning to fail. Many Jewish Democrats are thanking God that
Christian conservative Republicans (George W. Bush and Dick Cheney) rather
than Democrats (Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman) are in the White House. And as
they look around, they find that in a world that once again has a cold spot
in its heart for the Jews, virtually all their allies are conservatives.
As for blacks, I am less sanguine about the immediate future. A
generation of blacks has been repeatedly told by their leaders, by liberal
educators, liberal media, and by the Democratic Party that America and
whites are racist. They have also been told that the only way out of the
social problems that plague parts of black life is through the Democratic
What then should Republicans do? Talk to and especially listen
to blacks. Most blacks want, more than anything else, to know that they are
being heard. We can ask blacks not to allow their memories of centuries of
racism to cloud their views of America today, but they can ask the rest of
us not to forget those centuries. We therefore have to say sincerely to
blacks, "We will not forget what this country did to you." Only when blacks
know that we remember, will they allow themselves to stop being preoccupied
With Christians speaking up for Jews and conservatives hearing
blacks' memories, the Democrats will no longer be able to win elections by
appealing to black anger and Jewish fear. What a better America that will